The Big Island is renowned for its coffee and coffee tasting but did you know that there are also tea plantations on Hawaii? Tea loves lots of rain, grows best at higher elevations, and needs acidic soil with good drainage, lots of sunlight and high humidity. These factors all come together on the northern and eastern sides of the Big Island!
Because tea is a labor-intensive crop the local farmers go for quality rather than quantity. They are mostly artisans using traditional and natural techniques, produce small batches and cater to specialty markets. The following local tea plantation organize tea tours and tastings on their property. Consider visiting one if you hold a special place for tea in your heart:
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- Mauna Kea Tea (near Honokaʻa)
- Onomea Tea Company (close to Hilo, currently closed)
- Big Island Tea (between Hilo and Volcano Village)
- Tea Hawaii (in Volcano Village)
Tea tasting (and tour!) near Honokaʻa
Honokaʻa is located on the lush and tropical northern tip of the Big Island. Here you can find one of our favorite tea plantations on the Big Island, Mauna Kea tea.
Mauna Kea tea tasting and garden tour
Mauna Kea tea is a small and completely organic (no pesticides) tea plantation. You can stop by here to buy their tea and/or get a tour of their plantation. The Mauna Kea tea Farm Tour is (in their words) “a way to see the farm close to farmer’s lifestyle” and includes tea tasting and a guided walk in their tea garden to really see the plants, soil, insects and weeds that are different in a stable ecosystem.
Emailing or calling ahead is recommended. Expect to pay between $20 and $30 per person (depending on group size, 2019 prices). Find out more and make your reservations at the Mauna Kea tea website.
Directions to the Mauna Kea Tea plantation
The address of Mauna Kea tea is 46-3870 Old Mamalahoa Highway Honokaa, HI 96727.
If you are interested in visiting this tea farm, you can squeeze in a visit e.g. when you are visiting Waipiʻo valley or are planning a scenic road trip along the Hamakua coast.
Tea Tasting near Hilo
Big Island Tea is the one remaining tea plantation close to Hilo that organize tastings on the Big Island. Unfortunately, the Onomea Tea Company has closed their gates.
Big Island Tea
Big Island Tea is located in Mountain View, mid-way between Hilo and Volcano Village. They organize tours of their farm and tea tasting, but reservations are necessary.
See their website for details.
Address: 18-2465 N Glenwood Rd, Mountain View, HI 96771, USA
Onomea Tea Company (closed)
The Onomea Tea Company is located ~7 miles north of Hilo. A visit to them can be perfectly combined with doing the Onomea Scenic drive. They offer tours and tastings which are available by reservation (try to contact them at least 1 or 2 days in advance of your visit).
More information on their website.
Address: 27-604 Alakahi Pl, Papaikou, HI 96781, USA
Phone: +1 808-964-3283
Tea Tasting in Volcano
Volcano Village is best known for its amazing rainforest and good access to the Hawaii Volcanoes National park, but did you know you can also visit a tea garden there?
Tea Hawaii is a tea garden tucked away in the beautiful rainforests of the Kilauea summit. Eva Lee and Chiu Leong organize a 1 hour tour that takes you through their tea gardens which are integrated into the rain forest (agroforestry) and ends with a tea tasting.
Tours are available by appointment. Find more details on the Tea Hawaii Website.
Phone: +1 (808) 967-7637